iMac vs. MacBook Pro (Retina)

D3vYus

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Mar 17, 2014
4
0
Australia
Hey guys, new to this forum, but as to my problem;
I'm a 17 year old who is leaning towards a university degree for Graphic Design. I'm looking to buy one but I'm not too certain which one would be better for what I'm going to do-

I don't have moneybags in my pocket as I'm still a student, but I need something that can handle fairly well with Photoshop and Cinema 4D with no problem. I've seen the 13" MBP but thinking it may be pretty small screen, so I had a look at the 15" (for a lot more money) it is only 2.0GHz and not sure if that'll cut it. The iMac would be good, but it does have the con of being a desktop and I won't be able to carry it around if need be..
Also I've never owned a Mac, but I am also a gamer and I'd like it to be able to handle some moderate games :D

Thanks for suggestions
 

maflynn

Moderator
Staff member
May 3, 2009
64,112
30,710
Boston
I'm not a gamer, but if you need a computer that is mobile, then I'd cross off the iMac from the list. The 15" model will give you more power, also check out the refurb section of the apple store, you may get a good deal.
 

D3vYus

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Mar 17, 2014
4
0
Australia
As a student, you will be entitled to the Apple student discount. I would go for a high end iMac...It will see you through your studies well, and a 13" rMBp as nice as they are ( I'm typing this on mine now) isn't really the all around wortool you need In my opnion.

Apple student discount:

http://store.apple.com/uk?afid=p219|GOUK&cid=AOS-EMEIAUK-KWD-BTS13-
True, but I'm not sure that is available in Aus

I'm not a gamer, but if you need a computer that is mobile, then I'd cross off the iMac from the list. The 15" model will give you more power, also check out the refurb section of the apple store, you may get a good deal.
I'm not too sure it HAS to be portable, but the option is always good. And I can only really afford the 2.0GHz 15" but I'm not sure if that's quite good enough, unless mistaken. And there's nothing better than unboxing a fresh, shiny new computer :p
 

jger77

macrumors member
Feb 23, 2014
35
0
the Fraser Valley
Depends.

Your problem seems to be portability vs power, with price thrown into the mix.

Are you likely to have access to a lab on campus with modern quality machines? If that's the case, the shcools machines would probably have a lot more muscle than you can afford and be a joy to work with.

If not, I'd go with an iMac, 21 in, i7, with graphics card, 16 gb ram, and a fusion drive. such a rig retails for about $2.5k, if there is an Education Discount in Aus you can probably knock about 10% off the price.

If you live on campus and the lab is open 24h, you'd probably be quite satisfied with with an med spec'd MB air, or low spec'd 13 in MB retina, which would leave an extra thousand bucks or so to spend on pizza, beer and movies. These types of machines are great for web browsing, note taking, and writing reports. while they're kind of anemic for gaming, if you add some cheap external storage, and an HDMI cable, they double as decent Entertainment devices as well.

For the type of work you expect to be doing, I'd be more conceded with the number of cores, the presence of hyper threading, the amount of RAM, and the presence of a dedicated GPU than I would the clock speed on the CPU.
 
Last edited:

maflynn

Moderator
Staff member
May 3, 2009
64,112
30,710
Boston
I'm not too sure it HAS to be portable, but the option is always good. And I can only really afford the 2.0GHz 15" but I'm not sure if that's quite good enough, unless mistaken. And there's nothing better than unboxing a fresh, shiny new computer :p
Only you can judge whether you need a portable computer, but I will say that the majority of threads here where student's ask for advice on purchases has been limited to laptops. There are some asking for information on iMacs and Minis but the clear majority has been laptops. My own experience has been that a laptop is better in the long run because of the mobility aspect.
 

Macman45

macrumors G5
Jul 29, 2011
13,196
133
Somewhere Back In The Long Ago
True, but I'm not sure that is available in Aus



I'm not too sure it HAS to be portable, but the option is always good. And I can only really afford the 2.0GHz 15" but I'm not sure if that's quite good enough, unless mistaken. And there's nothing better than unboxing a fresh, shiny new computer :p
The discount requires that you be registered with a valid University...A .au address will pretty much swing it...then it's just a case of what Mac you want...As I said, I'd go with an iMac, but it does depend on your requirements....if portability is your primary concern, then a 15" rMBP, or maybe even a refurbished cMBP might well fit the bill.
 

jger77

macrumors member
Feb 23, 2014
35
0
the Fraser Valley
Another Suggestion

You could also try amazon, or one an independent Apple reseller, where you could probably find some very nice used high end MacBooks including 2 y.o. 17" MBP which can has RAM and an HDD that are easily swapped. Such a machine would yield slightly better performance that a brand new 13in retina.
 

Izaiah

macrumors regular
Apr 12, 2013
102
1
FL
I can't recommend a specific model because your needs are way different than mine, BUT you should probably strongly consider the laptop. Portability is a nice thing to have in college.

I would say this is especially true if you decide to live on campus. There will be times where you may not be able to get any work done in your room and you then have the option to take your computer to the library.

Have you decided where you're going to school? My advice would be to take a tour of the campus and check out how the computer labs, library, etc. are set up.
 

Altemose

macrumors G3
Mar 26, 2013
9,089
444
Elkton, Maryland
Hey guys, new to this forum, but as to my problem;
I'm a 17 year old who is leaning towards a university degree for Graphic Design. I'm looking to buy one but I'm not too certain which one would be better for what I'm going to do-

I don't have moneybags in my pocket as I'm still a student, but I need something that can handle fairly well with Photoshop and Cinema 4D with no problem. I've seen the 13" MBP but thinking it may be pretty small screen, so I had a look at the 15" (for a lot more money) it is only 2.0GHz and not sure if that'll cut it. The iMac would be good, but it does have the con of being a desktop and I won't be able to carry it around if need be..
Also I've never owned a Mac, but I am also a gamer and I'd like it to be able to handle some moderate games :D

Thanks for suggestions
We are at the point in computing history where clock speed doesn't matter as much any more. In fact, clock speed hasn't mattered in Apple way back to the PPC days!

You are going to want an i7 processor if you can afford it. If you took a 2.0 GHz i7 for example against a 2.5 GHz i5, the i7 would still be roughly 25% faster. Granted this is not scientific as I am not using specific processors and a lot of factors play into that statement.

You can never have enough RAM, and that's a statement you can take to the bank!
 

Digital Skunk

macrumors 604
Dec 23, 2006
7,750
354
In my imagination
Since you're a Graphics Design major, don't worry about anything but screen quality and RAM.

Second, you NEED to answer whether or not you want to take it with you or not. That's BIG issue since it determines whether or not you get a machine that's one notch below the Mac Pro or a laptop that's at the midrange level.

Third, you need to consider your price. You don't have to post it, but unless you have $2500 or so, you're stuck with the iMac and an external portable drive. The only rMBP I suggest to any media production student is the one with a dedicated graphics chip. All of the others will do but won't last. You'll be looking to buy a new machine in two years.

27" iMac with 4GB of VRAM and 16GB or more RAM $2350 US

15" rMBP w/NVIDIA GeForce GT 750M (STOCK no upgrades) $2599 US

Those are you're only real choices if you want this machine to last all four years or more.

And of course, you need to decide for yourself whether or not you want to take it with you or not.
 

iamMacPerson

macrumors 68030
Jun 12, 2011
2,744
863
AZ/10.0.1.1
And there's nothing better than unboxing a fresh, shiny new computer
I would just like to point out that with Apple's refurbs, only certain parts are used or remanufactured. It never goes past the LoBo though. Certain things, like maybe the video chip, processor, etc are used, but everything else (most of the time, the PCB is included) case, battery, screen, is new. This is why so many people when they get their refurbished machines from Apple, they always say "Wow there isn't a mark on this machine! Looks like its never been used!" Of course not! It has a new casing. :p

Personally, I'm typing this on my Retina MacBook Pro which is an absolute beast. I don't do graphics, but I do video editing in iMovie and this thing is amazing.

With the iMac, I would go high end if you choose it. Graphics chips in your field will be important. Go big or go home. GeForce GTX 780M with 4GB of VRAM. Ge the RAM aftermarket. The RAM in the 27" is still user upgradable. Crucial (great brand) $159 versus $200 from Apple for the same 2x8GB chips (16GB in total). Of course, buying it from Apple covers it under your warranty, so its up to you. Remember the 27" has 4 RAM slots, so you can put in 32GB later if you wanted.

With the iMac, consider the Flash Drive. Things are moving away from spinning drives, plus the Flash Drives have a longer life, are much faster, and keeps you from having to go in there and do it yourself.
 

Digital Skunk

macrumors 604
Dec 23, 2006
7,750
354
In my imagination
I would just like to point out that with Apple's refurbs, only certain parts are used or remanufactured. It never goes past the LoBo though. Certain things, like maybe the video chip, processor, etc are used, but everything else (most of the time, the PCB is included) case, battery, screen, is new. This is why so many people when they get their refurbished machines from Apple, they always say "Wow there isn't a mark on this machine! Looks like its never been used!" Of course not! It has a new casing. :p

Personally, I'm typing this on my Retina MacBook Pro which is an absolute beast. I don't do graphics, but I do video editing in iMovie and this thing is amazing.

With the iMac, I would go high end if you choose it. Graphics chips in your field will be important. Go big or go home. GeForce GTX 780M with 4GB of VRAM. Ge the RAM aftermarket. The RAM in the 27" is still user upgradable. Crucial (great brand) $159 versus $200 from Apple for the same 2x8GB chips (16GB in total). Of course, buying it from Apple covers it under your warranty, so its up to you. Remember the 27" has 4 RAM slots, so you can put in 32GB later if you wanted.

With the iMac, consider the Flash Drive. Things are moving away from spinning drives, plus the Flash Drives have a longer life, are much faster, and keeps you from having to go in there and do it yourself.
In most cases Apple refurbs are returns of CTO machines or batch returns of older systems. When Apple updates a new line of products the ARS have to ship back all of the unsold products to make room for then new.

Those machines returned are taken out of the box, and put on shelves to save space and sold as refurbished. All of the defective machines are parted out. The defective part is removed and recycled, and the parts that work are parted out for future repairs.

It's one of the many things that I like about Apple Retail from a tech standpoint.